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Troubleshooting creation and deletion of codespaces

This article provides troubleshooting steps for common issues you may experience when creating or deleting a codespace, including storage and configuration issues.

GitHub Codespaces is available for organizations using GitHub Team or GitHub Enterprise Cloud. GitHub Codespaces is also available as a limited beta release for individual users on GitHub Free and GitHub Pro plans. For more information, see "GitHub's products."

Creating codespaces

No access to create a codespace

GitHub Codespaces is not available for all repositories. If the "Open with Codespaces" button is missing, GitHub Codespaces may not be available for that repository. For more information, see "Creating a codespace."

You can't create a codespace for a private repository that's owned by an organization, unless you have write access to the repository or the organization has enabled forking for it.

If you believe your organization has enabled GitHub Codespaces, make sure that an organization owner or billing manager has set the spending limit for GitHub Codespaces. For more information, see "Managing your spending limit for GitHub Codespaces."

Codespace does not open when created

If you create a codespace and it does not open:

  1. Try reloading the page in case there was a caching or reporting problem.
  2. Go to your GitHub Codespaces page: https://github.com/codespaces and check whether the new codespace is listed there. The process may have successfully created the codespace but failed to report back to your browser. If the new codespace is listed, you can open it directly from that page.
  3. Retry creating the codespace for the repository to rule out a transient communication failure.

If you still cannot create a codespace for a repository where GitHub Codespaces is available, you may need to contact support. For more information, see "Working with support."

Codespace creation fails

If the creation of a codespace fails, it's likely to be due to a temporary infrastructure issue in the cloud - for example, a problem provisioning a virtual machine for the codespace. A less common reason for failure is if it takes longer than an hour to build the container. In this case, the build is cancelled and codespace creation will fail.

Note: A codespace that was not successfully created is never going to be usable and should be deleted. For more information, see "Deleting a codespace."

If you create a codespace and the creation fails:

  1. Check GitHub's Status page for any active incidents.

  2. Go to your GitHub Codespaces page, delete the codespace, and create a new codespace.

  3. If the container is building, look at the logs that are streaming and make sure the build is not stuck. A container build that takes longer than one hour will be canceled, resulting in a failed creation.

    One common scenario where this could happen is if you have a script running that is prompting for user input and waiting for an answer. If this is the case, remove the interactive prompt so that the build can complete non-interactively.

    Note: To view the logs during a build:

    • In the browser, click View logs.

    Screenshot of the Codespaces web UI with the View logs link emphasized

    • In the VS Code desktop application, click Building codespace in the "Setting up remote connection" that's displayed.

    Screenshot of VS Code with the Building codespace link emphasized

  4. If you have a container that takes a long time to build, consider using prebuilds to speed up codespace creations. For more information, see "Configuring prebuilds."

Deleting codespaces

The owner of a codespace has full control over it and only they can delete their codespaces. You cannot delete a codespace created by another user.

You can delete your codespaces in the browser, in Visual Studio Code, or by using GitHub CLI. GitHub CLI also allows you to bulk delete codespaces. For more information, see "Deleting a codespace."

Container storage

When you create a codespace, it has a finite amount of storage and over time it may be necessary for you to free up space. Try running any of the following commands in the GitHub Codespaces terminal to free up storage space.

  • Remove packages that are no longer used by using sudo apt autoremove.
  • Clean the apt cache by using sudo apt clean.
  • See the top 10 largest files in the codespace withsudo find / -printf '%s %p\n'| sort -nr | head -10.
  • Delete unneeded files, such as build artifacts and logs.

Some more destructive options:

  • Remove unused Docker images, networks, and containers by using docker system prune (append -a if you want to remove all images, and --volumes if you want to remove all volumes).
  • Remove untracked files from working tree: git clean -i.

Configuration

If changes to your dev container configuration cause a container error, your codespace will run in recovery mode, and you will see an error message.

This codespace is currently running in recovery mode due to a container error.

Review the creation logs, update the dev container configuration as needed, and run Codespaces: Rebuild Container in the Visual Studio Code Command Palette to retry. For more information, see "GitHub Codespaces logs" and "Introduction to dev containers."